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March 03, 2011

Mayo Clinic on possible government shutdown

Here's an interesting take on the potential shutdown of the federal government and its possible impact to Mayo Clinic, particularly to its research areas.

This Mayo Clinic memo was sent out to departments and individuals with on-going research projects.

Here's my question, do you think readers would like to know more about how a shutdown could impact impact Rochester?

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts.

Here's the Mayo memo:

Sent on behalf of Dr. Robert Rizza, Dr. Thomas Brott and Dr. Keith Stewart
We wanted to let you know that we are monitoring two closely related issues – a possible government shutdown and potential cutbacks to National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding—and their possible impact on Mayo Clinic research operations.
As you may have heard, a federal government shutdown will occur if Congress and the White House do not reach an agreement on a FY 2011 continuing resolution funding measure by Friday, March 4.  Among the effects of a government shutdown is the stoppage of payments for government contracts including those for NIH and other federal government research projects.  We are developing detailed contingency plans to insure little or no disruption of current federally funded research projects here at Mayo Clinic.  We are confident that if a short-term shutdown does occur, of two weeks or less, it will not affect day-to-day research operations.
Federal government shutdowns in the past have been rare and short lived as the political consequences to Congress and the White House can be great. The last two government shutdowns in 1995-96 lasted five days and 21 days. 
If a shutdown is imminent, we expect to hear from the NIH and other federal agencies more details on how it will affect their operations and contracts.
A closely related issue is the vote by the House on February 19 to cut NIH funding for FY 2011 by $1.6 billion (5.2%) below the current level - reducing the budget for medical research to $29.4 billion.
As leaders in the House, Senate, and the Obama Administration work out a compromise to prevent a shutdown, it is unclear whether the proposed 2011 NIH cuts will be upheld or rolled back—as this is one of the budget issues up for negotiation.
On this front, Mayo Clinic has joined much of the national research community in beginning implementation of an aggressive plan to encourage all members of Congress to support strong funding of the NIH and to oppose any cuts.
As the negotiations in Washington progress during the next week(s), we will keep you informed of how and if those changes may impact our work here at Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Robert Rizza
Executive Dean for Research
Mayo Clinic
Dr. Thomas Brott
Associate Dean for Research
Mayo Clinic in Florida
Dr. Keith Stewart
Associate Dean for Research
Mayo Clinic in Arizona


Yes! This is great info to include in the paper - anything to help people realize how much good our government does and how widespread those efforts are.

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